Irons in the Fire

IMG_5092Wow .. we have been busy. The garden has been worked on a little here and there and we have added more gutters. We have also had some loads of wood chips dropped and are working on the side yard to be a Back to Eden garden. The stuff grown on  the gutters are doing very well. Onions and garlic are getting really big and should be ready to harvest soon.

IMG_5093The lettuce has grown well among the onions but it is getting past their season. Here in Texas it is getting hot and I expect the lettuce to be bolting soon. It has been really nice to come home from work and take out some scissors and cut dinner. I am having to buy my radishes.. but come fall we will get the lettuce and radish in so we can enjoy both home grown.

IMG_5095The tomatoes are going nuts! I have only 5 on each gutter and have another gutter to get going with some more plants I need to get in the kitty litter containers. I had to order more of the net cups and they have just arrived.  Taking a few extra days off work and the project is to get them planted and the auto watering on the tomatoes setup and working. Tomatoes need a lot of water so the constant supply should give me great tomatoes this year.

IMG_4643The trellis I came up with was not very expensive. It is made out of four 2 x 4 x 10′ lumber. I drilled holes in the cross bars and just slide 10′ conduit pipe in and guide the stems up between them. The conduit is about $2/pipe and I think I spent about $20 in lumber. Thought this would be an inexpensive way to support the plants on the gutter. The trellis is 6′ high and you can see the tomatoes are almost there at the top. I have no idea what I am going to do once they get past that. I am hoping the bottom supports will be enough. Who ever thought I might need a ladder to harvest my tomatoes.. lol
We do have tomatoes growing in the tangle of leaves.
All the tomatoes are heirlooms and have been outside since February. IMG_5096We have had some nights down to about 37 degrees and it never phased the tomatoes. The ones in the ground were killed but not the ones on the gutter. I think the yellow containers of soil absorbed the suns heat all day then released it back to the tomatoes in the evening creating a micro climate of sorts that kept them from freezing. Nice to know since tomatoes tend to stop setting tomatoes when night time temps get hot. Here in Texas that comes early and stays long. So I am trying to get two seasons from tomatoes.. start early then start towards end of summer so have harvest when temps are agreeable to them. It may take a few season and lots of notes to get this tweaked.. but vine ripe tomatoes are SO worth it.

The chickens are producing 10-12 eggs a day.. so me and the dog are eating a LOT of eggs. His coat looks great, I have a healthy breakfast every day and I have made a few dollars as have started to sell a few dozen here and there at work. I would like to sell enough at work to have the chickens pay for themselves. In the mean time we are making egg noodles, dehydrating scrambles eggs and having eggs every chance we get.

IMG_5073Even though I have more eggs than I know what to do with now, I am forward thinking to when the girls will molt and production will drop off. I am also thinking when they age and they are not giving me as many eggs as they do now. So we bought an incubator and are hatching out the blue eggs from our Easter Egger and also the largest dark brown eggs. I have no idea what hen lays those beautiful large brown eggs.. but I am wanting some of those genetics in future hens we have here. I have two roosters, Jose is my black Australorp and Big Red is a red Easter Egger. No idea who the daddy will be on the chicks.. so plan is to hatch, grow and keep the best. The rest will go in the freezer.

isbarIn time I want to get a breed called Isbars that have now been renamed Silverud Blues. This breed lays a large green egg, is a small bird, does not require a lot of feed to produce the eggs and the breed over all, including the roos…  is very friendly and sociable. Since at this time I do not trust the two boys I have and tend to stay out of the chicken pen, I will greatly appreciate friendly roosters. The chickens are blue, black and splash and are a production breed. In time I will have these roosters over my hens. I will breed these for a pure production line but will keep choosing good layers that have a more dual purpose shape so I can have some freezer birds as well. We may have to add in some fresh lines.. but we will cross that bridge when we get to it. The incubator will allow me to purchase Isbar eggs more economically than buying chicks so the current hatch is also the hatch to learn how to be successful.
blog whiskers I posted previously about making soap. I love using handmade soap and also really enjoy making it. Because I want to make more soap than I can possibly use, I have made the decision to get back into making it to sell. I am currently developing products and a web site. Once the web site is up and running we will also get an Etsy site going. The site is no where next to done as I have worked mostly on the layout. I am now needing to figure out how to take nice photos and get the site operational. Not being a geek by nature, there is a learning curve  with the web site design that tends to make me lose my religion now and again. But overall we are making progress. It is a WordPress site and we have a blog there as well. I am trying to keep a history of how we got our name and how we develop up the business and product lines. Will be nice to look back over in a few years.

IMG_48530001I have crated a Facebook page for the new venture. It has been recommended in this day and age to also Tweet and post on Instagram .. so I have two new social accounts and am trying to figure out how to use both mediums. Not “social” by nature I am having to make some effort to get them going and and keep them fresh. Need to figure out hashtags next I guess.. lol. If you pop over and check any of it out would love some feedback as to if we are off to a good start.

So much going on around here it is a wonder I have time to sleep. I am having fun though and learning to look at what I am getting accomplished rather than what I have yet to do. We may have a lot of irons in the fire, but I have yet to feel the heat. And I think that is much better to have those irons heating up than letting life pass me by.

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